Hello and welcome back to another exciting edition of developing a draft plan! I’m your host, Dave Shovein, and I am about to break down exactly what I’m looking to do in each round of my next draft.
Now you may be asking, “But Dave, what if other competitors in your league frequent this web site, and you basically spell out your entire draft plan to them?” And while that is an honest concern, I’m more or less identifying tiers of players that I’ll be selecting from and not specific players I truly value.
This is an NFBC league, which means that it’s a 15-team, 30-round snake draft. We roster 30 total players, 23 starters (two catchers, first base, second base, shortstop, third base, five outfielders, a utility man, a corner infielder, a middle infielder, nine pitchers) and seven bench slots. The first thing I have done is finalize my KDS settings to determine where I would like to draft. Right now, my preference is 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 12, 13, 14, 15, 11, 10, 9, 8, and 7. Since the draft order has yet to be selected, for the sake of this exercise I’m going to plan as if I’m drafting from the top of the draft at pick one.
Now again, I’m going to identify specific players, but at the same time remember that I’m more or less planning on when a tier is going and not the specific guy. It’s nearly impossible to plan ahead for specific players due to the variability of each draft.
Round 1. pick 1: (1B) Albert Pujols: As I stated previously, one of my main goals in this draft is to roster one of the top seven first basemen, since there is a significant dropoff and much more uncertainty after that. Hanley Ramirez did merit consideration here, as another of my goals is to draft a top eight shortstop, but I know that drafting from the top of the first round means none of those other first sackers will make it back around at the two-three turn.
2.15: (SS) Jose Reyes: Given how early drafts have shaped up, there’s a 50/50 chance that Reyes lasts until this pick. I have him as by far the third best shortstop, and will gladly take him here. If he’s off the board, I look for value at the third base or outfield positions rather than taking my next best shortstop.
3.01: (SP) Felix Hernandez: Another goal of mine this year is to own a top six starting pitcher, and King Felix surely fits that bill. While he may not win 20 games, his sparkling ratios and impressive strikeout potential provide a solid anchor to my staff.
4.15: (OF) Hunter Pence: At this point, as long as I already have my first base/shortstop combo rostered, I’m looking for a solid outfielder or third baseman who can contribute across the board, and Pence provides just that. He’s a model of consistency and still has plenty of room for growth and upside.
5.01: (C) Carlos Santana: Sometimes if you really want a player, you have to reach above where his ADP has him going, especially drafting from either end of the snake. Santana is a player I love this year and I know that he won’t make it back at 6.15 so I’ll pull the trigger early here.
6.15: (RP) Joakim Soria: Another of my goals is to draft a top six closer. This is the one position that will have the most variance come draft day, as they usually go in runs. In some drafts, this could be one of the first closers off the board; in other,s all six in my top tier may be gone at this point. Odds are that at least one from that group will be on the board still, and Soria becomes the anchor of my bullpen.
7.01: (3B) Aramis Ramirez: This is the last in a tier of third basemen I’m targeting. I think that A-Ram bounces back in a big way and provides the solid power that he displayed in the second half last season.
8.15: (SP) Brandon Morrow: I’m a sucker for tremendous strikeout potential, and Morrow was the best in the business at punching hitters out last year. Provided he can stay healthy, he’s an excellent No. 2.
9.01: (OF) Nick Markakis: A solid second outfielder who won’t hurt you in any category. His numbers should improve across the board hitting third in a much-improved Orioles lineup.
10.15 (SP): Jonathan Sanchez: Again, make sure you target pitchers with high strikeout potential. He’s always had the stuff, and finally started to harness it last season.
11.01 (OF): Brett Gardner: As I look at the way my team is currently constructed, I am slightly lacking in speed. Gardner fills that need nicely, as well as solid average and runs scored.
12.15 (RP): Drew Storen: My plan on closers is to draft one of the top six early, then focus on a solid No. 2 who has job security. Storen fits that description perfectly, and also has nice upside.
13.01 (CI): Derrek Lee: Best of the remaining corner infield options, and I think there is potential for a nice bounce-back year if he can remain healthy.
14.15 (SP): Jordan Zimmermann Solid live arm with oodles of upside. Has big time strikeout potential as well.
15.01 (OF) Travis Snider: Post-hype sleeper? Snider has awesome power potential and should be hitting sixth in the Jays lineup. Twenty-five home runs aren’t out of the question, and that returns solid value in the 15th round.
16.15 (SP): Carlos Zambrano: Big Z is another guy I’m really high on this year. Though he’s a head case, he was tremendous in the second half last year and fits in nicely as my fifth starter here.
17.01 (C): Carlos Ruiz: With my second catcher, I’m a huge fan of taking someone who will contribute a bit in my counting stats, but more importantly won’t kill my batting average.
18.15 (RP): Kevin Gregg: Depending on how each specific draft unfolds, there could be a closer with a job still on the board at this point in the draft. Over the course of the season, you need roughly 90-100 saves, which amounts to 2.5 closers. If I can get 10 out of Gregg here, he has value to my team and saves my FAAB dollars.
19.01 (2B): Tsuyoshi Nishioka: I think the pool of players at second base is extremely deep, which allows me to wait and take a guy in the 19th round who could hit .300 with 25-plus steals.
20.15 (SP): James McDonald: One of my favorite late round starters this year. I hope he can build off his late-season surge with the Pirates.
21.01 (UTIL): Mike Moustakas: He should get called up after his Super-2 deadline, and could be impact rookie the way Ryan Braun was a few years ago. As draft day gets closer, his ADP will most certainly rise.
22.15 (MI): Danny Espinosa: Possible 20/20 second baseman, another reason I wait on that position this year.
23.01 (OF): Peter Bourjos: I generally don’t wait this long to select my fifth outfielder, but as of now there are a couple of guys I like who remain on the board this long. I think he’ll stick in the lineup with his amazing defense in center field, and although the average may be suspect, he should provide 25-plus steals with a bit of pop as well.
24.15: (RP): Koji Uehara: I’m a big fan of gambling on closers-in-waiting late, especially when they’re backing up one that you already have.
27.01: (1B) Juan Miranda: Good roster filler here to fill the utility spot until Moustakas is called up.
28.15 (SP): Daisuke Matsuzaka: His whip may be a train wreck, but as a late-round starting pitcher, he has K potential and should win a decent number of games.
29.01 (SP): Scott Kazmir: Another decent late-round gamble. If he can regain his velocity, could be a sleeper play this late.
30.15 (SP/RP): Alexi Ogando: I think that as spring closes, he will move much higher up draft boards once he gets a clearly defined role.
Now obviously, the specific players here may not end up on my team, but I have a good idea on where I want to fill each position, and what tiers I am targeting. In the reserve rounds, what I’m really looking for are healthy starting pitchers with strikeout upside, closers-in-waiting, and although I didn’t really fit one into the plan here, someone with multi-positional availability with a starting job somewhere.
Trust me; going through this exercise with your own team will pay tremendous dividends come draft day. As always, questions, comments and concerns are welcomed and appreciated.